According to 247Sports.com, the Alabama Crimson Tide still have the top 2013 recruiting class of any team in college football. With a list that includes 14 players that are ranked as at least 4-star recruits, there are many elite prospects in this group of guys. I'm talking about players who can soon take over the college football landscape and begin competing for individual awards and help lead Alabama to yet another national championship.
But before we get ahead of ourselves and start drooling over these kids when they haven't even taken a snap at the collegiate level, they must prove themselves during a grueling offseason. Still, it is tough not to look at all of this talent and begin thinking about all of the possibilities that could take place as early as next year.
With so many skilled players to choose from, here are the 2013 Alabama recruits that have the biggest star potential to shine.
When talking about star potential, the first position you usually think about first is quarterback. Regardless of how teams win games, it is the starting signal-caller that seems to get majority of the credit. Cooper Bateman is one of the top quarterbacks of the 2013 class and has enrolled early to get a head start on the competition starting this spring.
Bateman has everything you look for at the quarterback position, from his incredible arm strength to his above-average athletic ability. He moves around the pocket well, has an excellent delivery and this kid can absolutely let the ball fly. Big plays in the passing game should be expected once he takes over this Alabama offense.
After the 2013 season and A.J. McCarron graduates, Alabama has no true quarterback to replace him. Bateman will be given every opportunity to take that job in his second season on campus and will immediately become the new star quarterback for the Crimson Tide.
Jonathan Allen is the type of defensive player that coaches love. When watching some of his tape, you can tell he enjoys playing the game of football and wants to go out there and make the opposing ball carriers think twice about being on the field.
Allen is an explosive player who plays the game with a ridiculous amount on intensity and energy. He gets off the line quickly and when he gets his hands on somebody, there is a good chance they are going for a ride. Sometimes you aren't quite sure if he is preparing to play football or if he wants to become the latest WWE superstar.
The 5-star recruit can play anywhere on the line or outside linebacker, but while likely play defensive end once he arrives on campus. All it takes is one of those nasty suplex moves put on a SEC running back, and Alabama and college football fans everywhere will fall in love.
The same way Amari Cooper became a popular receiver overnight last season is the same thing Robert Foster hopes to do when he becomes a true freshman in 2013.
Foster isn't as fast as the 1,000-yard receiver from last year, but he is a playmaker with the ball in his hands. Line this kid up at running back, put him on the outside or leave him in the slot, Foster is going to pick up those chunk yards that absolutely break a defense's spirit. He is a lot more physical than his 6'3", 190-pound body may indicate; he breaks through arm tackles and he has terrific hands.
Alabama has had great success with these freakish athletic receivers over the years and Foster should be the next in line to produce at a high rate. With him and Cooper on the field together, the Crimson Tide will have one of the most balanced offenses we have ever seen in Tuscaloosa.
Much like Bateman, tight end O.J. Howard has already enrolled and is hitting the weight room each and every day. Adding more muscle to a body that is already 6'6", 225 pounds is bad news for the rest of the SEC.
Howard is the definition of a versatile player and a freak athlete. With his size and what he has shown at the high school level, Howard can help out Alabama in many different ways. He can block at the tight end or running back position, can become that big play tight end, or he can line up at wide receiver with his combination of size and speed. This is somebody who may have a big body, but he runs a 4.42 40-yard dash.
That is scary for the defense, but great news if you are an Alabama supporter.
No matter what the coaching staff has up their sleeve when it comes to Howard, he is sure to make an impact right away on the offensive side of the ball. He will likely contribute in many different ways and that only gives him more of an opportunity to get noticed by each college football fan in the country.
Regardless of where Derrick Henry plays, he is likely going to become a star whenever he is given a chance.
The 5-star recruit was recruited at the running back position, but with all of the depth on the Alabama roster, he may be forced to take a backseat and play defense. Still, this is the all-time high school leading rusher we are talking about here. He will be given a chance to play the position before making him a member of the next great Crimson Tide front seven.
Henry is a massive player at 6'3", 240-plus pounds. And even with that size, he runs with terrific speed and is very physical. As a running back, he would provide that physicality that we haven't quite seen since Trent Richardson. But the same reasons he is a solid running back prospect are what makes many believe he can line up at outside linebacker or defensive end.
Henry will make a name for himself somewhere and become a difference maker; it is just a matter of which side of the ball it is going to be.